J.J. Koski returned a punt for a touchdown and added another long scoring run in the fourth quarter to help Cal Poly defeat Sacramento State 41-27 in a Big Sky Conference football game Saturday night at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento.
Drew Hernandez and Joe Protheroe each contributed more than 100 yards rushing, Khaleel Jenkins added two touchdowns on the ground, and the Mustangs improved to 2-4 overall and 1-2 against conference opponents.
Protheroe surpassed the 100-yard mark for the fourth straight game. The senior fullback carried the ball 32 times for 128 yards and one touchdown.
Hernandez, a sophomore from De La Salle High, turned in another strong performance, running for 113 yards on 12 carries — an average of 9.4 yards per attempt.
Cal Poly avoided a third consecutive loss on the strength of 462 yards rushing.
The Mustangs took control of the game for good early in the second quarter when Koski returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown, giving Cal Poly a 21-14 lead at halftime.
It was Koski’s first return touchdown of his career and the first punt return for a score by a Mustang since 2008.
Koski helped put the game away with a career-long 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Cal Poly sophomore linebacker Matt Shotwell continued to build on a strong season defensively. He recorded a team-high nine tackles and made the first interception of his career in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Kevin Thomson passed for 322 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hornets (2-3, 0-2 Big Sky).
Elijah Dotson added a game-high 149 rushing yards and scored one touchdown in the loss.
Cal Poly has a bye next week and will host UC Davis at Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Oct. 20.